Chapter 2110 Secrets from the Past (Part 2)
Vastor conjured a holographic map of Leegaain's turf where the most important branches of the Undead Courts were highlighted.
"Why the Empire?" Theseus the Meneos-Bastet asked. "The Golden Griffon was built in the Kingdom and it stands to reason that Arthan involved the local Courts in the project."
"You are right, but I doubt that after the War of the Griffons started, the undead kept the records where Thrud could find them, especially if they were planning to backstab her after defeating the Royals." Vastor replied.
"In their shoes, I would have moved such an asset out of her reach while also keeping it close enough to be capable of using it the moment the opportunity arose. The Blood Desert is off limits due to Salaark's strict law enforcement and all the free states of Garlen are already under our control.
"If there was someone or something valuable there, we would have already found it. As for Verendi, it's too far for the undead since they have limited access to dimensional magic.
"The Empire is our best shot for two reasons. First, while Night was the supreme ruler of the Undead Courts after the disappearance of her siblings, she moved there in order to build the reputation of her host.
"To avoid the scrutiny from Verhen's allies in the Kingdom while he posed as the Balkor copycat, Meln Narchat established his base of operations in the Empire. I'm ready to bet that before offering an alliance with Thrud, he took away everything and everyone he could use against her."
"It makes sense." Cyare the Fenrir nodded. "So what's our next move?"
"Your question moves us to the second reason I mentioned earlier." The Master replied.
"I narrowed the most likely position of the intel we are after down to the three cities where Narchat trained his Chosen. Under his rule as the Dead King, the local branches of the Courts have been fortified into strongholds.
"The only people who had free access to them were those who carried Night's prisms and the women Narchat had delivered there. We met just a few times, but it was long enough to understand that someone with a bloated ego like him can't stop himself from running his mouth.
"Narchat needs to brag about how strong and smart he thinks he is in order to shut up the little voice inside his head that constantly reminds him of Lith's achievements.
"Meln probably said something about his secret weapon even to his victims. After all, he only took fanatics as his Chosen and they wouldn't betray him even at the cost of their lives.
"As for the women, the only way they had to get out of their golden prison was feet first."
"Rules of engagement?" Eycos asked.
"You are free to go all-out and kill anyone, but only until you uncover the location of the Undead Court." Vastor replied. "Once there, you must keep the damages and the number of casualties to a minimum.
"We can neither interrogate piles of ashes nor afford to destroy anything that might contain the information we are looking for."
At those words, the Abomination-hybrids groaned in frustration. They had no problem holding back their strength in order to achieve their goals, but not killing those who attacked them went against everything they believed in.
"I know, it's going to be a bother, but it's our best and only shot." Vastor sighed. "With a bit of luck, we might find some of Narchat's concubines, one of the elders who he used as advisor, or even Night's Chosen.
"Any of them can provide us invaluable intel that would be lost if you pulverized anyone on sight. Feel free to kill the undead who are too weak and young to know anything, but first make sure that they really are who they say they are.
"If any of Night's Chosen is still alive, they are probably posing as a low-level grunt to avoid being tortured to death."
"Because of what they did to their fellow undead?" Theseus naively asked, making everyone else chuckle at his expense.
"No, for what they know." Tezka shook his head. "Whenever the Night King possessed them, their minds became one which means that they know everything he did.
"With Narchat imprisoned inside the Golden Griffon, the Chosen must have regained their free will and retained his memories. All of them."
Seeing that the youngest member of the Organization looked confused, the Suneater continued his explanation.
"They know the secret of Awakening. They share his knowledge about Blade Tier Spells and portable towers. If the Undead Courts find them, they won't deliver the Chosen to Thrud but keep them for themselves.
"With such knowledge at their disposal, they wouldn't need her anymore."
"Okay, you lost me there." The Bastet-Meneos replied. "If the Chosen can't trust their brethren, why not just run away? Staying within the Undead Courts is a pointless risk."
"And what's the alternative?" Hushar asked. "Once outside, they would still be paralyzed during the day, hunted by the forces of the Council and the Empire alike. They would still need to feed and based on their race of origin, an undead can be really picky.
"The Court offers them a safe haven, free food, and an excellent cover. To live unnoticed among the livings it takes an undead great care to not stick out like a sore thumb whereas in a Court they're just a face in the crowd. Unless they do something stupid, of course."
At a snap of Vastor's fingers, the names of pairs of Abomination appeared under each of the highlighted cities, making most of the hybrids stand up in surprise.
"What the heck does this mean? Why is Kigan my assigned partner instead of Bytra? Not only is putting two Origin Flames users together redundant, but I also can't stand that asshole!" Zoreth said.
"Hey, I'm right here, you know?" The Phoenix said in annoyance. "Also, I agree with her. All of my strategies involve Eycos' Life Maelstrom. No matter how much our respective mothers squabble, Garudas and Phoenixes are a golden duo."
"No can do." The Master shook his head.
"I've paired you up in order the form the best teams possible from the few hybrids we can afford to deploy. Xenagrosh's Dragon Eyes are the closest thing to Life Vision we have and will allow you to identify elders and Chosen, no matter how good their disguise is or if they wear cloaking items.
"As for you, Kigan, your Molting Essence bloodline ability will be the key to destroying arrays without harming people while by studying your Balor Eyes in action Xenagrosh might understand how Domination works."
"I need Bytra here to keep working on upgrading the Mouth of Menadion, our equipment, and researching on Theseus' Meneos side. You all have seen the true power of the Guardians when Kamila was attacked.
"Even if we reach the white core, even if the legend about fusing it with a black core is right, it might still not be enough. If we want to stand a chance against the Guardians, we need mage towers of our own."
Vastor let go of his Yggdrasill staff and opened his shirt, revealing how his human life force didn't need the artifact's aid anymore to keep the Abomination side under control.
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